Friday, November 29, 2013

Make Soup with your Leftovers!

If you are brave enough to do the whole Black Friday shopping adventure you are probably gonna be hungry when you get back. You may not be in the mood to eat everything you had more that enough of yesterday. Here is a quick easy solution to spice up your leftovers and make it seem like you are eating something different!

One of the gluten free, vegan, oil free dishes I made this year was a roasted root vegetable medley. I basically chopped up carrots, celery, onion, sweet potato, white potatoes, blue potatoes, watermelon radishes and turnips with some vegetable stock, salt, pepper, rosemary, and thyme. 

I used the watermelon radishes and the blue potatoes to add some color :)

Well I roasted these for about 45 minutes and they were delicious, I ate some and had quite a few left over. So I decided to think of something fun to do instead of just tossing it into a tupperware container and putting it in the microwave when I'm hungry.

I decided to make a soup. I grabbed some quinoa, vegetable stock, and a few more celery stalks and an onion.

I chopped the extra veggies up while my vegetable broth and water were boiling. 

When the water came to a boil I tossed in the quinoa and let that cook for a bit. 

After the quinoa had been in there for about 10 minutes or so, I tossed in the veggies. Thats it. Since I already seasoned them when I roasted them earlier I didn't add anything else to the mix.

Now that everything is in there just let it all cook together for a bit.

I let it come to a boil and then turned down the heat for about 25/30 minutes to let it simmer.

Easy Peasy! Plus, it gets better and better as it sits together over night! Also, what better way to use up your gluten free bread! I was the only one eating off my Against the Grains baguette so I have lots left over, nothing better than dipping bread into soup!

There ya have it! I'm sure you have something left over you can make into a soup. 


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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

What We Are Thankful For!

Mahaley's Thanks:
This year has definitely been filled with challenges, new beginnings, and unforgettable moments. Here are some of the things I am grateful for....Mom, I hope you're reading. 

I am grateful to have the most amazing mother in the world, who I am consistently in awe of. She does more for her children and her family than any other person I have ever known. Mom, the things you do do not go unnoticed. Thank you for being my rock.

I am thankful to have a father who is compassionate, kind, and loving. He has set the bar very high for those who have come into my life, and has always helped me see the positive side of any situation. Thank you for loving your family unconditionally.

I am thankful to have a brother and sister-in-law who exemplify an amazing kind of love. Whether you know it or not, you have taught me to never settle for anything less. I look forward to all the laughs we will have in the future. Usually at mom's expense. 

I am thankful for the brightest light in my life that is my sweet Coco. You have honestly made me the happiest momma in the world, and put a smile on my face every day.

I am thankful for my best friends, who consistently support and love me, and have been particularly stellar this year. I wouldn't be here without you guys. Thank you for being by my side. 

I am thankful for a little angel named Atticus, who I call "my happy place." You've brought a whole new kind of love into my life over the last three years, and I hope one day you understand how much joy you've brought into the lives of those around you. 

I am grateful for Bailey, because without her, this blog wouldn't exist. She's one of the hardest working,  determined, and caring people I know. I still haven't figured out how she does all that she does, but when I do, I will let y'all know. 

A few other notables - I am thankful for reality television, the moments I have laughed so hard I started crying, yoga, my new car - Ethel, good music, and hemp milk lattes. 

Bailey's Thanks:

Ok, time to get thankful! Although this list is full of things I'm thankful for everyday, I'm glad Thanksgiving is here to make me say it out loud. Here we go in no particular order.

I'm thankful to have a loving and supportive boyfriend that puts up with all my crazy. I don't know how he does it, but he should get an award or something.


I'm thankful for my family. They may be all over the world and practically never in the same place at once, but they are always supportive and loving and I feel so lucky to have them. Even though we are far apart I always feel at home when we get a chance to talk and our time together is so important to me. Families work in different ways, mine is definitely not traditionally perfect, but I think I prefer it that way.

P.S. I have the coolest sister there is! 

I'm thankful for really great friends, some new, some old but all so important to me. So thanks to those that live on the other side of the country for only being a phone call a way and being cool with picking right back up as soon as we are together. To those that live right here with me, thanks for  being there for me whenever I need you and for all the crazy fun we have.

I'm thankful for my four legged best friends. First, Dharma she has been in my life longer than most of my friends and even longer than Aaron, who has been around for quite a long time! She is my happy place and I feel so lucky to head out into the mountains, or just go hang with her  when life gets stressful and complicated. It all disappears when I get to go ride.

I'm so so thankful Ms. Harley Quinn is part of my life. Her big goofy smile makes me laugh even on the worst days when I'm in a horrible mood. She just has to wiggle her but and smile and I can't help but smile with her. I also love how she has touched so many other people including many of the kids I see at work. She deserves all the attention and treats she gets!

I'm also thankful for Mahaley! For so many reasons, not only is she a blast to run this blog with but she is a kind and supportive friend who thinks of everyone else before herself. I'm pretty honored to do this whole blog thing with her and I'm pretty excited to see where it takes us!

Oh and gluten free food and everyone working to make it tastier and more accessible! I'm so thankful that I can have a happy tummy and still enjoy delicious meals whenever I want! And with that said, eat up tomorrow and enjoy your family. Make sure to take a moment to think about all the wonderful things you have to be thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving!
We are so thankful you are reading this!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Roasted Winter Vegetables

In honor of Thanksgiving week, I will share with you one of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes - Roasted Winter Vegetables (thanks, Mom!)

Finding vegan and gluten free holiday foods are difficult to find, and this is a delicious side dish, or even main course, and it's so easy to make. 

Buy as many different kinds of hard winter squash as you can, such as butternut, acorn, pumpkin and kabocha squash. Also get Yukon Gold potatoes and sweet potatoes, and turnip root.   

*NOTE: Buy everything cut up except Yukon gold potatoes and turnip roots as it is very hard to cut the others.  If all you can find is butternut squash, and the two kinds of potatoes, that is fine.  Make sure that everything is cut about the same size so that they will cook evenly.  

1 teaspoon cardamom
2 cloves garlic, crushed  (you can use the crushed kind from the jar)
¼ c olive oil
¼ cup lemon juice
2 Tablespoons agave
Salt and pepper

Mix the ingredients above in a small bowl.

Put the cut up veggies in a large bowl or in a very large ziplock or two. Put enough of the liquid mixture in them to coat each piece of veggie.  Stir or shake really well so that the liquid is spread around evenly.

Use a large baking sheet or shallow pan, and spray with cooking spray. This is important because even with the olive oil in the liquid, I found that the veggies can still stick and that is annoying!  Pour the veggies onto the pan, and make sure they are in one layer.  The veggies can be very very close together, but they can’t be on top of each other.

Bake in preheated oven at 400 degrees until done, usually about 20-25 minutes.  

Taste one of each kind of veggie/potato at about 15 minutes just to be sure you don’t overcook.

It is delicious reheated and lasts for days!

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Monday, November 25, 2013

Celiac and the Beast

While at the GFAF Expo in Dallas, I was really excited to meet Erica of Celiac and the Beast. I knew her book had just come out and I wanted to snag one up really quick! To be honest, I didn't really know what to expect from it. I figured it would have a little bit of humor thrown in with a lot of gluten-free talk. 

Turns out I was pretty close, it was a lot of good gluten free talk and advice, plus quite a bit of humor. I think Erica should teach a writing course to text book creators. I would have been much more interested in grad school if the books were educational and entertaining! 

I'm sure most of you who are reading this post are familiar with Erica and follow her on twitter and instagram and whatever the cool new social media outlet I haven't figured out yet. The book was a closer look at her journey, where she was kind enough to share her mistakes and lessons along the way in hopes that the rest of us can learn from them instead of making the same ones.

This book just reinforces how awesome Erica is as well as the gluten free community as a whole. It reminds you how accepting and supportive everyone is in the community. I know for a while I felt like a fraud because I don't have a Celiac diagnosis. I did not want to come across as one of those gluten-free dieters who don't even know why they are gluten free. I also felt kinda ashamed at the expo while meeting people who had Celiac diagnoses. I felt like, I shouldn't complain about my intolerance when these poor people probably deal with much more on a daily basis. But, now I feel like its ok, we are all going though our fight against gluten differently and as long as we are supportive of each other its all good. 

Reading about Erica's struggle to finally figure out what was going on was actually really fun to read. Not in the, "I loved hearing about how shitty that was for you!" kinda way. But, in the "Its fun to learn" way. I learned so much more about what it means to be diagnosed with Celiac Disease and realize that the "testing" my doctor did what a complete waist of time. I'm still on the fence when it comes to deciding if I want to know if I am indeed a Celiac or if it is "just" a gluten intolerance, but I now feel like when I make that decision I can take charge and make sure the right tests are done in the right way. 

Another thing I learned from the ever so wise Erica, is that cross contamination is EVERYWHERE! There have been so many times after a meal that I am complaining to my boyfriend and playing detective to figure out what it is I ate that made me feel sick. Whelp, turns out it was probably everything. This new knowledge doesn't exactly make going out to eat easier, but it sure does help me make some better choices. 

I particularly LOVED the chapter about "food bullies" there have been so many times I have wanted to use some not so nice language when people poke fun at what I'm eating. It was bad enough back when I stopped eating meat. Boy of boy do the meat and potato type of people have the best jokes for that. For the most part, I think most people got their jokes out of the way back then. I think people have been pretty supportive about my new lifestyle. It may also be that I stopped caring as much and have mastered the art of the silent "go F&^% yourself" smile. 

Not only do I highly recommend anyone with any sort of food allergy, special diet, or special circumstance read this book, but I think anyone who doesn't have to deal with this stuff should read it too. It would be a great perspective for those who tell me I can't have the veggie burger because quinoa is gluten. (just in case you are skimming and not reading carefully, quinoa is not gluten). I think it will also help to share the awareness and maybe stop some of that cross contamination that ruins my nights every time I get home from bar trivia.

One last tid-bit, since Erica talks about the importance of helping out the community, I want to address 2 of Erica's wishes from the book. 

Wish #1 Girl Scout Cookies-  The fabulous ladies at Girl Scouts of America have created a gluten free chocolate chip cookie! Bam your wish has been granted! This year when those sweet and not so sweet little girls and popping up around every corner you can snag a bag and eat the whole thing before you get home. Maybe snag two and put one in the freezer.

Wish #2 The Perfect Gluten Free Restaurant- I'm sure there are some other great completely gluten free restaurants out there, but I just experienced the best I have ever been to. Gluten free or not, probably the best restaurant ever. It is called Senza and if you want to experience eating without fear this is the place. They don't even allow outside food in the restaurant just to prevent cross contamination. It's like if gluten was a vampire and need to be invited in, its super safe! 

Oh, I'd also like to begin a gluten free Instagram photo challenge in honor of something Erica said in the book that made me laugh out loud in a public place. I know Trader Joe's has some tasty gluten free "Oreos,"  so I say post a photo of how many you can fit in your mouth and hashtag  #CATBOREO! If you have read the book you may know why, if you haven't arn't you curious now!!!


Thanks Erica! 

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Friday, November 22, 2013

Two Urban Licks

Recently, I went to dinner at Two Urban Licks in Atlanta. I must say, it was exceptionally delicious. The menu is an eclectic mix and has something for everyone. This upscale restaurant has a very urban (no pun intended) and laid back vibe to it. 

How gorgeous is this?

It was really hard to decide what to order..but I went for the tuna and salmon chips, buffalo cucumbers, and scallops over grits. The scallops over grits were to die for. 

The tuna tartare was served over their house made chips. It was probably my favorite thing on the menu...I could've ordered four more  

Salmon chips - very good, but out of all things I would have rather had more tuna tartare than the salmon chips 

The last thing you must order are the buffalo cucumbers. I know, weird sounding, but I swear on my life they were amazing. I ate them all before I could remember to take a photo. 

If you are looking for a great restaurant, with excellent food, atmosphere, and service - Two Urban Licks is the place to go. It's some of the best food I've had in Atlanta. 

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